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Dear Cousin,

 

Puffy white clouds flirt with the sunshine this morning, casting intermittent shadows over the hills. The spring peepers called last evening, and the day dawned fair and mild. Steadily dropping temperatures and rising winds are arousing the March lion from his lair, and we can expect him to bare his teeth and claws as he enters our hills.

Still, the tiny coltsfoot flowers, shining bright yellow through dry, brown leaves, lend an encouraging note to the cold winter landscape. Although they may be covered with a coating of snow, they bloom bravely and tell us that spring will come. Bitter March wind howls about the eaves of the house, trying to creep in around the window facings, and setting the wind chimes a-jingle. The March lion prowls tonight showing jagged icicle teeth that hang down over every rock cliff, and his breath freezes the very marrow of our bones. The sun tried to shine through the drifting snowflakes this morning, but soon gave up the struggle and turned the day over to the icy wind.

In spite of the cold, spring is coming. A flock of robins announced it a day or so ago as they streamed over the yard, bobbing their heads and pecking at the ground. There is a lot of activity among the bird world as blue jays squawk and quarrel while the aggressive crows caw noisily overhead. The songbirds begin building nests and laying eggs this month. My cousin Madelyn writes that she once saw a robin on her nest with snow on her back in the month of March.

We have had our first baby calf, a wobbly-legged little bull that arrived in February. There are several more cows that are due to calve almost any time. When the spring calves begin arriving, we know that warm weather is not far away. At the risk of running the cow tales into the ground, I have one, well, two more stories to share. Criss and our neighbor Gerald once owned some cattle in partnership, and they bought a young roan Durham bull.

He was a handsome little fellow, and Criss made the mistake of petting him. We had him in a lot around the farm pond, and Criss would feed him grain in a bucket. He grew and grew. He got so rambunctious that it wasn't safe for the boys to cross the lot to get to the pond to fish. When the bull saw a bucket of fishing worms, he immediately gave chase. Criss said, "Aw, he just wants to play!" Well, who wants to play with a bull that weighed over a thousand pounds?

They transferred him to Gerald's field, and one day he broke through the fence and attacked Jeff's swing set in the yard. He bellowed and stomped, battling the swings with his horns. No one tried to stop him. They decided if he wanted to play on the swing set, he was welcome to it. He was just too much bull, and they sold him soon after that.

The same neighbors had a cow with great long horns, an amiable brute that never caused any trouble.

One day she was sticking her head through a gate for some reason and got her horns caught on it. Terrified, she tried to get loose, and in doing so she tore the gate off and it stuck on top of her head. Old Pat, the workhorse, took one startled look at the monstrous creature bearing down upon him. Throwing his tail over his head, he panicked and ran for his life. The gate finally fell off, Pat calmed down, and order was restored on the farm.

There was always a lot of excitement on that farm. Linda had a couple of roosters that fought every time they got close to each other. One day she took a switch and gave them a good whipping. I don't know if it broke them of fighting or not. We had a fighting rooster at one time that would run the kids in the house, up a tree, or to any place of safety. Criss caught him after them one time, broke off a cornstalk, and proceeded to teach him a lesson. After he conquered him, Criss stood over top of him and crowed. Who said farm life was boring? God will give us spring.

 

Love,

Cousin Alyce Faye


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